Family of Ashtabula man shot by officer disputes police department's account of what happened

Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-09 16:28:45-04

The family of a man who was shot by an Ashtabula officer last week is disputing the police department's account of what happened. 

Brendan Hester was shot in his own home on West 38th Street last Friday around 5:14 a.m. after police responded for a report of an armed intruder holding a woman hostage. 

He remains in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center. 

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According to a press release from Ashtabula police, three officers responded to the incident. Inside the home, one of the officers encountered two men struggling. One of the men had a gun. When the officer told the man to drop the gun, he did not comply and the officer fired. 

Ashtabula Police Chief Robert Stell later told News 5 they believe at one point the intruder had a gun but it was taken away from him. The resident of the home, who was fighting with the intruder, had the gun when police arrived, Chief Stell said. He said the resident — Hester — was shot by the officer after he refused to drop the gun. 

Hester's family says that's not what happened. 

According to the family's attorney, no orders were ever given to drop the weapon. 

In a statement, the family said: "Instead, Brendan was shot immediately after the police opened the door to the house. There was no scuffle in progress at that time. Ashtabula police shot Brendan twice, including a shot in the back."

Police also said they found drug trafficking instruments inside the home. 

But the family attorney says that information was exaggerated: "The only drugs in the house were a small amount of marijuana, and not more than would be subject to a simple possession ticket and fine. Further, the money found in the house was a modest amount, like any working person might keep and save in his or her home." 

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.